House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was process.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Surrey North (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 1993, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees Of The House September 19th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a comment and also ask a question of the hon. member.

The hon. member talks about democracy, structures, a waste of time and these kinds of things. In debate previous to this, reference was made to the same thing. I suggest to the member that Parliament has roles. I agree that we are elected and we come. The bulk of the members form the government and subsequently down the opposition.

I suggest very strongly that the role of the opposition is to critique. The third party is doing that. We do not see that coming from the official opposition. Someone has to do that regardless of what his or her mandate is. We also have to address the mandate of the House. That is in the traditional structure of this place.

He also mentioned that we have structures by which we function. I suggest that structures are human made and they can be changed. It is not necessary to continue to use something forevermore amen because it happens to be a structure that is in place. It is the role of the opposition to critique that structure and make it function as well as possible in today's environment.

I ask the hon. member if he feels that it is not a democratic principle to critique these things and bring to them a modern day concept of what is happening. The rest of Canada's citizens are asking us to do that and not just say it is a waste of time.

Criminal Code September 17th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in this debate because I represent the constituents of Surrey North and we have been plagued with a number of violent crimes involving mass murderers. Clifford Olson was one that haunted our neighbourhood as well. It is very fortunate that I have this opportunity to express my point of view.

The previous speaker made reference to the fact of our inability to read the Criminal Code, but he on the other hand pointed out that in this particular bill the application is not made to a judge but to the community. If he would like to read section 745(1) he will find that it is indeed made to a chief justice.

Another point that the previous speaker made was in relation to the Bernardo case and allowing the judges to have some flexibility in the sentencing from the point of view of whether or not to grant parole. My understanding in reading this bill would be that regardless of what a judge would say at that particular time, he could say no parole, but 15 or 25 years later, whatever the magic number is, another procedure would occur in which that person could make application for eligibility which means the previous judge's decision could be overruled. I do not know if that is the answer or not.

There are two points I would like to make in relation to this bill. One is the content itself. That would relate to the fact that it is designed to set up some sort of a screening process in which it would not allow everyone the opportunity to make application for parole and that would be heard. It might reduce some of the time the courts have to spend on this as well. With the mechanism for the screening process that is set up, I tend to think there may be undue influence on the jury or the subsequent aspects of the process.

Basically what seems to be happening is a prisoner will make application to a chief justice who will look at that individual's situation. I believe that clause 1(2) contains the kinds of things the judge will look at. It would include the number of years of imprisonment without eligibility for parole, his conduct while serving the sentence, the character of the applicant and the nature of the offence.

It would be logical to assume that as we have had a heavy emphasis on rehabilitation in the prison system for the last 20 years, a criteria that might be written into the act as well is his participation in rehabilitation programs and his progress in those same programs. I am deviating a little bit.

My point here is that the judge is looking at that criteria in relation to the application to decide whether or not the application can proceed to a designated judge in a province and a jury and the case be made for parole. I suggest that only those cases the judge in his wisdom thinks may get parole would actually go into the process of being assessed for parole. All others would not.

One of the arguments used for not having victim impact statements in court was that it could influence the jury. I argue that this is the same principle. A learned person in law has moved certain cases forward. I would tend to think that a layman type jury could be influenced that indeed these people would be eligible for parole. On the other hand they may not but there is a possibility that would happen. Therefore, I believe there may be undue influence by using this method of screening.

Another point which should be made concerns the discussion we had on section 745 a year ago. At that time there were some token changes. The debate at that time described the fact that we felt these were half-way measures or token changes. Here we are again looking at the same thing and taking it one step further.

I tend to question why we have to go back to a similar sort of issue. Two reasons occur in my mind. One is that the government was not prepared to deal with the situation in its entirety a year ago, to address the problem and put it to bed. The other may be that we are witnessing some sort of phase-in by the government of some kind of activity that is not necessarily popular to the masses.

I suggest that when we, as citizens, elect a government we expect it to lead and that leadership should be directed at preserving the society to which the majority of the citizens have agreed. I do not really think the government is aware that the majority of citizens do not agree with this step in the process. We cannot have this kind of step. It has to be an either-or. Either we have this application that we go directly to a jury or we do not have it at all.

Our position is that we do not have it at all. Let us stick with that first judge and jury that assessed those people and made the decision that they were going to go to jail for 15 years. It also provides a sense of leadership to the citizens that they cannot play around with the system and take chances. They must think about their actions before they do them because they will be responsible. If a person kills someone it will be 25 years in jail, no ifs, ands or buts. That might deter a few people. We have those who it will not but I am certain our percentages would drop down.

Right now it is almost like a game of roulette. One takes a chance, gets a good lawyer and might get off.

We are defeating a number of principles when we bring in this screening process. There is no half-way measure but that seems to be the trend that we have experienced in the last three years. We do not seem to get to the solution. We only get half-way there. In some cases we do not even get half way there. We then bring it up again.

I would like to suggest that it is possibly coming up again because after it came up a year ago the government realized that the move it made then was certainly not one that the Canadian public was happy about. I do not know whether we are trying to correct that now or whether we are witnessing an attempt to phase in something over a period of time that the Canadian people do not want. However, if we spread the time out far enough they will not even notice. It will come in very insidiously and suddenly it is there.

I have a lot of problems with this. The screening mechanism used from a control point of view or as some sort of an evaluation, time saving or whatever the rationale is for it, will not achieve what it is designed to achieve. Basically what will happen is that a judge somewhere, who is looking in depth into this application for a presence in front of a judge and jury, will be duplication. What the judge goes over, the jury will also go over. I strongly suggest that instead of screening it will intimidate or influence the jury based on the fact that the judge has some knowledge in the area we are dealing with.

Comment has been made about faint hope for prisoners sentenced to 25 years that something can happen in 15. By allowing parole it is faint hope for victims and their families that justice will be carried out.

Questions On The Order Paper September 16th, 1996

With regard to the increasing use of Electric Shock Treatment (ECT) in Canadian hospitals and, specifically, in British Columbia hospitals, what: ( a ) are the numbers by province, by sex, and by age groups of people receiving ECT annually across Canada for the past ten years; ( b ) is the number of patients by age group who died while undergoing the ECT procedure, within fourteen (14) days of treatment, and within one (1) year of treatment; ( c ) is the cost of ECT in Canada including the cost of the shock and all related costs such as anaesthesia, associated pharmaceutical treatment, and hospitalization; ( d ) federally-funded psychiatric research involves the use of ECT especially with regard to senior citizens; and ( e ) psychiatric conditions appear to make ECT the treatment of choice?

Financial Administration Act June 13th, 1996

Madam Speaker, in three minutes I would like to address some of the comments made by the previous speakers.

Reference was made that this motion actually may create more work for the auditor general. I do not read that into the motion. I am reading from that motion that the committee is saying it cannot address all the issues the auditor general is raising and therefore some of these issues are getting lost.

Mention was made in relation to accountability. We are talking about one of the basic management principles which is that in any management program there is an evaluation of what is done. A plan is put together and implemented and the results are evaluated. It is my understanding that the evaluation of those results is the role of the auditor general.

To get to the outcome part of it, one needs to have the mandate, the responsibility and also the authority to carry it out, to make the plans and implement them. The accountability component has a big play in the evaluation of that. To say that the auditor general is now reporting three times versus one time is not necessarily a method of establishing accountability. It is certainly enhancing the process to achieve accountability because the reports are more frequent, but we still have to address those reports and try to improve what the management process has been, if improvement is necessary.

Reference was made that there are alternative resources for information to the auditor general. My reading of this motion does not find that a problem. What it is asking for is that the department or program which is being evaluated by the auditor general make a response and if they are taking action based on alternative resources that would be a response that would come forward. That in itself could be looked at or be evaluated for accountability purposes.

Another comment-

Gst May 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the government has added several new meanings to the GST letters.

We still have the goods and services tax but we also have a government House agenda GST, a grossly sedate tempo, and the firearms registration GST, gun control silly tactics.

Then there is the east-west coast fishery GST, a gadoid, salmon and turbot fiasco, gadoid being a type of cod fish.

From the budget there are a couple more GSTs: the gasoline sales tax which increased the government's revenues, and the opportunity for the former deputy prime minister to gurgle `slipped tongue' song.

Through all this we watched the rat pack disintegrate to the grovelling sorry twosome, and from there to the grumbling solo tenant.

Two more GSTs the government can add to its list are get sensible today, and Canada's got serious troubles.

Employment Insurance Act May 2nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I have a procedural concern. The bill has gone to committee and yet it still comes back to the House with a horrendous number of amendments. I believe there 220 amendments, which gives one cause to wonder when a bill is not a bill and whether the House of Commons is actually rewriting the bill. It makes one wonder what actually happened in committee to resolve some of these difficulties which would have provided a more streamlined bill for the House.

I am also concerned with the name change of the bill. I have two concerns. The first is about changing the name from unemployment to employment. I also question the term insurance. If changes were to be made, why was the term insurance not included?

With regard to the contents of the bill, we have started in practice to move away from the concept of insurance. The insurance policies of today are sophisticated tontines, things from our past. This does not seem to be a true insurance policy as was originally conceived to address the needs of the unemployed. It was originally intended to get us over that period of time until we could get back into the world of employment. I question whether we are actually discussing an insurance concept.

The change in terms from unemployment to employment reminds me of the health care realm in which we have a health care insurance policy. I am very pleased to see it is still addressing the concept of illness. When I am ill I know I have a health insurance policy that will allow me to get the kind of treatment I need. When the concept was changed in health care from an illness to a wellness approach, it was specifically applied to the department, not necessarily the actual insurance component of the health care regime.

The same principle is being used here, but it is not being applied to the department; it is actually encroaching on the insurance program or a program of the department. By changing the term from unemployment to employment we are expanding the parameters of this jurisdiction. We are getting more officially into things like education and health care. We have already tended to move that way with training programs.

We may be going further down the road toward duplicating services that should be provided by other jurisdictions. The health component involved when a person is unemployed should be under the health care organization.

I have some difficulties in changing the term unemployment to employment. It could be interpreted in ways that lead to a great expansion of services under this insurance act. This would take us further away from a true insurance policy.

Another concern I have is with premiums. We tend to establish categories based on geographic location or income, and we address those in need, which takes me one step further. Regardless of financial position, when we are suddenly employed there develops a need. When we work we develop a lifestyle our income will support. When that income is gone it has an effect on our lifestyle. We become in need to maintain it. I do not think that is what we are talking about here.

We should maybe look at Maslov to identify what needy means. I tend to think of needy as the basic principles which come out from Maslov such as food, shelter and clothing. These are essential to all people. When it comes to looking at benefits, this is the classification that should be front and centre. When we speak of needy, what is immediately conjured in one's mind is that somebody is needy in one of those three area, versus just saying needs. Whatever our income, we develop an appropriate lifestyle and when the income is no longer there, we are in need to maintain that lifestyle. That is a totally different issue than what we are talking about here.

It is becoming extremely technical. I am still struggling with my income tax. It is at a point now where I am not capable of doing it myself and I have to shop around for the best deal in town. We are beginning to get a similar process here by coming up with various categories, conditions in various areas of the country, income and so on. There are all these different categories. We should be

looking at the elimination of some of these categories, not the creation of more, while addressing the basic needs of the unemployed.

One category that jumps to mind immediately is the regional category. Obviously there is a financial difference, depending on the area of the country, for example north-south. It is more much more expensive to meet the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing in the north than it is in the south. I am sure if we address that in relation to the benefits, obviously there would be a monetary difference.

We can look at maternity benefits before and after birth. I do not see the rationale of differentiating between a natural parent and an adoptive parent. A baby is a baby, and it does not matter whether a baby is adopted or born of natural parents. That child still has the same needs. I was under the impression that these maternity benefits were originally applied to address those needs of the child because the mother is in the working world. That does not change if it is an adopted child. The baby still needs the adoptive mother just as the natural mother would be needed.

I would like to get back to the insurance component. I looked at the auditor general's report of 1994. He quotes from a study the Department of Finance. He refers to unemployment insurance as a disincentive to employment.

I do not see anything in this act which would really discourage people from going on unemployment insurance. I agree with the auditor general and I would like to see some of the amendments pass. Some definitely address this issue. We could stand here all night and illustrate various examples where the unemployment insurance act has been taken advantage of.

There are some major concerns. The name change is one. By going from unemployment to employment we are expanding the parameters of what is to be provided under that. A rose is a rose by any other name; I may be misquoting, but it is still unemployment insurance no matter what we call it.

Petitions March 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present from residents in my riding and surrounding area. The petitioners request that Parliament not increase the federal excise tax on gasoline and strongly consider reallocating some of the current revenues to rehabilitate Canada's crumbling national highways.

Justice March 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the constituents of Surrey North are horrified by the series of tragic deaths caused by repeat offenders.

Canadians in Surrey and across the country want to know that their lives are not in danger when a potential repeat offender is set free.

Canadians want to know what the justice minister is going to do to keep potential repeat offenders from victimizing other families and communities. What is the minister going to do to keep repeat offenders where they belong?

Our private members' motion M-139 asks the government to direct parole boards in their deliberations to give any benefit of doubt to the victim, the victim's family and public safety, not to the offender who would make more Canadians victims.

Committee Of The Whole February 27th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add to the statement of my colleague. This is exactly what we are on about. It is not a personalized instance at all.

Basically what we are talking about is merit and how we perceive it. There are other choices in this House and we feel that based on merit that this is not a good choice.

Supply December 7th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member two questions.

The member made reference in the beginning of his speech to addressing the historical treaties. I agree. We have been 300 or whatever number of years at that. I also express some apprehension with this concept of the modern, living or new treaties, whatever we wish to call them.

Does the hon. member think that the creation of more treaties will put us in a similar situation as the existing or the back treaties have? Would it take us x amount of time to get these other treaties into some state of agreement between all parties?

The next question is in relation to the B.C. Treaty Commission. We understand that body is preparing parties to negotiate and actually does not participate in the negotiation process itself. In the preparation of that body's mandate, would it ensure that the people who are going to the table have consulted with those whom they represent so that they go into the negotiation process with the blessings of their membership, or are they going in based on their opinions?